De Blasio, Council close to budget deal with $ 1 billion NYPD cut

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Mayor de Blasio and Council President Corey Johnson are finalizing a $ 87 billion budget deal that would prevent municipal layoffs while cutting $ 1 billion from the Police Department budget through transfers and spending cuts, according to The Post has reported.

The deal, which the City Council received information on Monday night, largely restores Hizzoner's cuts to summer youth employment programs, high-need school counselors, and tuition assistance for low-income students. income from the University of the City.

But it also keeps intact most of the other spending cuts proposed by De Blasio in April, as officials try to navigate the Big Apple's estimated $ 9 billion deficit, which was caused by the outbreak of the pandemic of coronavirus and subsequent economic closure.

Hizzoner's April budget, when the deficit was estimated to be just $ 7 billion, continued the city's tradition of saving the NYPD from the budget ax, even in tough times.

Just a few weeks later, George Floyd's brutal police death in custody in Minneapolis skyrocketed via social media, sending tens of thousands of New Yorkers onto the streets in protest, the first in a series of falling dominoes, leaving Hizzoner politically besieged. and completely redo the budget debate.

This latest spending plan hopes to respond to protesters calls to "disburse" New York police by cutting and transferring $ 1 billion from their budget, four sources confirmed. However, the City Council hit the target using accounting measures that critics have called "tricks."

Transfers school safety officers to the Department of Education, withdrawing $ 307 million from the NYPD budget in the first year. It also requires that school security officers move to another, as yet unspecified, agency, representing another $ 42 million.

Controversially, sources told The Post that the City also counted the $ 134 million in fringe benefits, such as health, dental and vision care associated with those employees to other agencies, and counted those savings toward the goal of $ 1 billion.

The NYPD is also supposed to cut its overtime expenses by $ 352 million in 2021, about half of its annual spending, which exceeded $ 700 million in each of the last three completed budgets.

Much of the rest of the savings comes from reducing department staff through attrition and delaying cadet classes, the sources added.

However, some popular programs cut by De Blasio in April have seen their funding partially or completely restored, three of the sources said:

  • The "Fair Student" program that helps match funding between Gotham's wealthiest and poorest school districts will see its funding remain stable, rather than face a $ 100 million cut
  • The Department of Education's popular "Single Sheperd" guidance counselor program for high-need schools grappled with the ax, but now has its $ 11 million budget.
  • CUNY's ASAP aid program for low-income community college students also saw much of its cut reversed, restoring funds to last year's level.

And $ 100 million is included to provide programming and employment for the city's youth over the summer, greatly reversing one of the most controversial cuts in de Blasio's April budget.

In addition, sources said the agreement reached between de Blasio and Johnson also prevents any layoffs in the municipal workforce.

The mayor had publicly warned that 22,000 employees could be laid off unless state lawmakers in Albany approved the emergency lending authority, only to see the state Senate deny their request twice.

Still, the budget, due to be approved Tuesday, will not be easy to sell.

A count seen by The Post showed that 15 of the city's 50 lawmakers can oppose the deal. The Council has 51 seats, although one is currently vacant.

"The mayor had two goals for this budget: to maintain security and to invest in young people and in our most affected communities, all while facing the most difficult fiscal situation the city has seen in decades," said the City Council press secretary, Freddi Goldstein, who declined to comment on the details. "We believe that we present a plan that fulfills that mission and look forward to working with the Council to pass a budget that will help this city rebuild itself stronger."

Johnson's office declined to comment.

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